Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases New Public API
Today, The Metropolitan Museum of Art launches a new public API for the collection. Through The Met Collection API, users can connect to a live feed of all Creative Commons Zero (CC0) data and 406,000 images from the The Met collection, all available for use without copyright or restriction. The Met Collection API is another foundational step in our Open Access program, helping make the Museum’s collection one of the most accessible, discoverable, and useful on the internet.
This API is central to our ability to scale the success of our partnership with the Wikimedia community to other technology partners. Partnerships are now a core component of The Met’s digital program, and represent an important shift in the Museum’s approach to engaging online communities. Users are no longer required to come to our website to engage with the collection.
This new API enables any third-party to sustainably integrate The Met collection into their website on scale. For detailed information about the API, visit The Met’s page on GitHub.
The first implementation of The Met Collection API is with our long-time partner Google. Together we have connected the Google Arts & Culture (GA&C) app and website to all the artworks in the collection through The Met Collection API. This is a first for Google Arts & Culture. With the flick of a switch—or a new hum of a server—this API connection has enabled us to scale The Met’s presence on GA&C from the 757 artworks that we had manually uploaded over the past seven years to the 205,000 digitized, public-domain artworks in the collection, each with one or more high-resolution images.
In recognition of this important milestone in The Met and Google Art & Culture’s work together, and to better serve The Met’s strategic goals, the Google Arts & Culture team has also collaborated with us on two important updates to our collection on GA&C.
- An image-download button has been added to The Met’s CC0 images on GA&C so that users can download a high-res image of any public-domain artwork in The Met collection. This is a first for GA&C, and brings one of the most popular features on The Met’s website to users of GA&C.
- A prominent “Learn More” feature has also been added, which links GA&C back to The Met’s website. This provides a clear and simple pathway from GA&C for users to access the canonical source of information about the artwork on our website.
Next steps for the Open Access program:
- Build awareness: Market and build awareness of the existence of the Open Access program and the rich cache of images and data that are available for people to use, share, and remix—without restriction.
- Proof of concepts: Work with communities to demonstrate the value and opportunities waiting to be unlocked with CC0 data and images, with a view to inspiring others to do the same.
- Partnership development: Invest in building new partnerships with technology companies, to facilitate the development of new integrations with The Met collection through The Met Collection API.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.